Seth Yacovone is a singer-songwriter-guitarist from Morrisville Vermont. He was born in 1979 in Berlin VT and raised in Wolcott VT. Seth started playing guitar at age 8, Music always being his true passion in life. He attended Wolcott Elementary and made it through junior high in Stowe VT before starting homeschooling after a month of 9th grade, which allowed him time to focus in on guitar playing and songwriting. Mostly a self taught player, he took lessons with a few different teachers in his early years along with help from his mother, a guitarist as well. He emerged on the Vermont music scene in 1995, after coming in second place in a guitar contest in Burlington Vermont and winning studio time. With the help of Bill Schafer, then owner of the Burlington music store Advance music, a band was put together to record a demo of Seth’s original music he had written while homeschooling. Soon gigs were booked and Seth Yacovone and the Broke an Hungry Blues Band was born.They played their first gig on New Years Eve 1995/1996 with Bill Schafer (Guitar), Harry Chakin (Bass) and Jeff Salisbury (Drums) joining Seth.
The early music was heavily influenced by the founders of electric blues such as Muddy Waters, B.B., Albert and Freddie King, Howlin’ Wolf and Buddy Guy among others along with a heavy dose of Stevie Ray Vaughan, Allman Brothers Band, Rolling Stones, Cream and Jimi Hendrix as well. At the same time Seth’s songs had a youthful humorous approach to lyrics more influenced by Frank Zappa and Funkadelic than traditional blues lyrics. While these influences would continue to be the foundation of Seth’s music, at this time it was mostly straight up blues. Seth’s young age of 16 years and his enthusiastic performances began to draw attention in the Burlington area. Lee Diamond soon came aboard as the band’s manager and helped take the band from being a local act to a regional act.
After a few shifting line-up changes, the band changed its name to the Seth Yacovone Blues Band and settled on the line up that would record the two CDs released under this name. Tommy Coggio (Bass), Luke Boggess (Harmonica and Vocals) and Adam Kay (Drums) along with Seth would play together from June of 1996 till April of 1999. In that time they would have the great honor of opening for B.B. King, Dr. John, The Neville Brothers, Koko Taylor, and Ian Moore among others and played hundreds of shows a year in the northeast. Bobfred’s Bathtub Minstrel was the group’s debut studio album released in 1997. It saw the band, joined by additional horns and keyboards, tackling 12 Yacovone originals and two written by Boggess. The follow up, a live effort of mostly unreleased original material, was released in 1998 and entitled Yessir! .
In 1998, Seth was invited to sit in with the Vermont band Phish at the Worcester Centrum in Massachusetts front of 14,000 people. Yacovone joined them for a rendition of “All the Pain Through the Years” an original on both CD’s released by the band and Phish’s only take of the Derek and the Dominoes classic “Layla”. This opened up a huge door for Seth and the band and would expose them to a new audience away from the traditional blues crowd.
1999 saw the departure of Adam Kay and the arrival of Steve Hadeka on Drums. Steve played a huge part in the changes the band would be making in the next few years. With Luke Boggess also leaving the group in the first few weeks of the new millennium, the band would embrace more diverse influences as it became a power trio of Coggio, Hadeka and Yacovone. Upon this change, the group would now be billed as Seth Yacovone Band.
SYB (as the group would be sometimes called), would play even more shows per year and take things further both musically and geographically. The songs were less traditional and began to incorporate Funk, Rock, Country, Jazz and Metal influences into its bluesy sound. Group improvisation soon became a large part of the group’s live shows where the three members would take chances and leave structure behind in the spirit of seeing where the music could and would go. A sound largely influenced by the Allmans, Santana, Grateful Dead and Phish but also inclined to get darker and louder in the spirt of Crazy Horse, Black Sabbath and Band of Gypsys naturally evolved. As the group gelled and played more and more together it harnessed a chemistry and a way of playing that only can happen with these three players. Lyrically, the songs were less silly and more heartfelt and meaningful due to the influence of Bob Dylan, Neil Young and The Band and due to the fact that Yacovone was maturing as a songwriter and performer.
SYB would tour from Colorado to Florida to Maine over the course of the next four years and even ventured to Italy for two successful tours in 2001 and 2002. They would open for acts such as Ray Charles, Johnny Winter, Trey Anastasio Band, BB King, Original P, Pork Tornado and Gov’t Mule. Dannemora was the first Seth Yacovone Band CD, released in the year 2000. The follow up, another studio effort Standing on the Sound was recorded at Trey Anastasio’s Barn studio and released in 2001. It is considered the band’s best studio album.
The band switched management in 2002 to Furry Thug Productions, Phish lyricist Tom Marshall’s team, and continued on with constant live performances. In 2003, In A Moment, a live cd recorded in New Hampshire and New Jersey, was released. By the end of 2004 the inevitable burn out that comes from roadwork and the cost of travel had taken the fun out of the music and Seth decided to end the group on New Years Eve/New Years Day 2004/2005 . That version of Seth Yacovone Band would reunite for a few performances in 2006/2007 and play a handful of shows in 2009/2010 as a quartet with Adam King joining in on keyboards.
Following the end of SYB’s roadwork and ten years of leading an electric band of some sort, Seth began to play solo acoustic music around Vermont and started a Friday night residency at Nectars in Burlington in May 2005 that still continues to this day. A love of acoustic music and songcraft and a desire to play less frantic, more dynamic music than SYB had wound up playing had led to the change.
Writing new songs in this tradition and using the back catalogue of unreleased songs he’d already written, Seth began to see a theme emerging of songs that commented on what it felt like for him to be alive and American in the first decade of the new century’s world climate. The songs wound up creating a tapestry of all kinds of American music of the last 70 years blended together into a melting pot of influences. These songs would become Seth’s first solo album, a double cd entitled Land of Split Decision released June 2008. Seth gathered together a diverse group of excellent Vermont musicians he felt would breathe life into the material to record the album. Steve Hadeka was again on Drums, joined by Ray Packzkowski (Organ), Rob Morse (Electric and Upright Bass) , Andrew Morroz( Trombone and horn arrangements), Joe Moore( Sax), Zach Tonnissen (Sax), Gordon Stone (Pedal Steel and Banjo), Chuck Eller (Piano), Sheila Metcalf and Andy Burke (background vocals). A 9 piece version of the studio band played a triumphant cd release party at Higher Ground in South Burlington billed as Seth Yacovone and the Land of Split Decision Revue.
Continuing onward, Seth has continued solo acoustic performances all over the state. Seth Yacovone Quartet shows with changing lineups have popped up when the timing is right with Hadeka, Packzkowski, Morse and Aram Bedrosian (Bass) playing. As well as Seth Yacovone Blues Trio performances, a return to Seth’s blues roots with original 1995 demo drummer Jeff Salisbury and Jan Schultz on bass. Seth can also be seen joining Dead Sessions on many occasions and Blues for Breakfast to get his “Dead” on.
Now in June of 2013, a new version of the Seth Yacovone Band has formed and returned to the live music world. Seth and Steve and have joined forces with Alex Budney (formerly of the Pulse Prophets, Bad Suit) forming a new power trio, focusing on new material and material that might not have gotten its due in the past, as well as some favorites of the early SYB days. Together Steve and Alex create a thunderous rhythm section to drive Yacovone’s songs and the group’s improvisations even further